tv [untitled] February 12, 2012 6:00am-6:30am EST
get killed in the process, talk, talk, die, die. >> my question is also, in your other book, you also give excellent analysis of work, and his success doesn't translate into later military training. i mean, it seems like we go back and have these same types of wars, world war one, being a terrible example. can't be learned. i mean, we are doom these military successes over and over? >> well, for example, if you were sherman, you look at vietnam, for example. he would say it makes no sense in the world to bme south. forget what your position was on the war, but forget what your position was on communism versus the cold war, forget all of that this is force a and this is b. if you wanted to win the war, sherman would say you march in,
kill the people who are responsible for sending poor, uneducated peasants to the south, and destroy the infrastructure. but we bombed more than we did in world war ii and killed innocent civilians because we were afraid of drawing chinese and russians by bombing infrastructure, killing what fueled it. i think you are right, but the problem with sherman's theory is in liberal society, with pretenses to the enlightenment, it's very hard to suggest to people. i think you will find that, believe me, because if you mention the word sherman today, people get furious. he is a terrorist. you mention grant, you look at grant, that was butchering, but sherman, it's too hard to communicate it's a moral act to attack the people who are purely in war, and to save the innocent lives of people, they have to
fight it. i spent most of the last five years when i speak defending sherman, even in the south, which is a suicidal thing to do. and i learned at an early age from my other grandmother, georgia johnson, if it's between johnson who did nothing and sherman to save the union, she will take the forerunner any day of the week. hard message to get across. not amoral to attack plantation of something who fuels succession. much more moral than to kill an 18-year-old kid who doesn't own any slaves. >> thank you. >> you talk about winning the war of ideas. in addition to destroying the enemy, with war, do you see anything in history that shows you strategies for winning the war of ideas that have been effective? >> well, yes, i do. i mean, people said that
reconstruction would never work and that we would never be united, but i think there were people in the north, reasonable people, lincoln was the best example, that realized that the south really didn't have a deep racial hatred but had been hijacked by the wealthiest class in the civilization, the plantationists, and they had polluted the entire culture, and that could be dealt with rather than condemning a whole society collectively, so there was an effort to reach out. it took a century. the same thing with germany. we didn't believe really americans, although we talked about it, when the war was over, we didn't believe society was evil. we believe it had been hijacked. i think that's what we are trying to do in iraq. we don't believe all the iraqis wanted to go to iran and kuwait and rape and pillage, although thousands did. we believe they had been hijacked.
we all get various periods in our history that can be collectively mad. the sad thing is, you have to have the order right. you can't convince a society they have gone down the wrong path without first defeating them, and again at the risk of being run into the parking lot, humiliating them. you can't go into rebuild japan until everybody knows the way of the militaryist leads to oblivion. you can't rebuild democracy until people in germany believe naziism gave them his -- this misery. it's very hard to create society when they are still there and haven't felt they were defeated and killed. it's almost as if history teaches us that the ease of reconstruction is in direct proportion to the amount of damage inflicted on the enemy. that's very hard for a liberal humane society post modern era like our own. in fact, you said the problem in iraq right now is the fourth
mechanized division, did not barrel down from turkey into tikrit as planned and obliterate then it would have been easier. nobody would believe you. i think history would. >> five minutes, couple more. yes. >> i have a question about terrorism, don't you believe that they are doing the same thing, destroying infrastructure of a country slowly but surely by executing teachers, people who are educated, cambodia, we have seen it in a lot of countries,lessly lanka, basically doing what sherman was thinking. that was insight when i read that part in the book. see that in these other situations. >> i do, but i can see your point, but you have to remember that sherman, southern observers
of his march said there were three rapes. i know there were bummers and people who destroyed and burneda lot of evidence that the union army -- these were mostly four regimens, core from indiana, michigan, illinois, and iowa who were homestead farmers. that's why they were so good, but we don't have this information they went around and killed and raped and plundered, so i am not sure they are comparable with the people in cambodia where it was deliberate policy to kill civilians. sherman would have probably objected to bombing on march 11 of tokyo. lamay said if a civilian is in a house in tokyo and he is helping building a propeller, then he is the enemy responsible for the killing in china and philippines. we are going to beat him so badly, the cinders are going to glow. i think sherman would have said that's too indiscriminate.
he might be there, but the guy next door not. the point was to create dissension among the enemy by visibly demonstrating, some people were paying for their sins, others were not. although you make a good point the south, the economy which was based on plantation cotton growing suffered enormously, and that hurt poor people, but that was not i don't think the intent necessarily of sherman. we have two more. in the back. >> yeah, your book was really good. question for you, leadership read your book prior to us going into iraq, what do you think might have been done different? because right now it's turning out to be a mess. >> the question is, what would be different. >> again, i guess i am a historian that looks at the
long, and i try not to read the eb and flow of the day. what i look at is this. if i had awoken up on september 11 -- and i don't forget what your politics are, whether it was right to go into afghanistan or iraq. let's just say militarily. if i had woken up on september 12 and i had said in the next 24 months, the united states military is going to remove the taliban and saddam hussein and try to implant consensual governments, and 50 million people will be free of that country, and in the process, we are not going to suffer another terrorist attack of the magnitude of 9-11, and osama bin laden is going to be in a cave and al qaeda is going to be on the run and we are going to lose 300 american soldiers, tragic as that is, i wouldn't have believed it, so i am trying to look at long term. if you look at 1946 and germany, this is a hot topic now, but people forget there was absolute
killing and plundering by poles into germany, cleansed and starvation, it was a mess, a year after reconstruction in a european country. i know everybody wants the u.n., but they went into the balkans in 1991 and said they were going to solve that. 250,000 people. what i am worried about is i am worried with death, but i was more worried about the nonfighting that resulted in a quarter million dead in the balkans, while people talked about utopia passivists. you want to be a historian, i would say it's more dangerous to be in france in august than it is in the triangle, because one of the results of a whole society that believes it's the state's responsibility either to provide air conditioning or watch out for elderly people while you are at the beach was mass death of the type we never experienced in fresno when it gets up to 110, because we all know where our grandparent are and rush over there and the
state tries to have alerts and there's fans and air kingston at home depot. we don't do that. yet we are considered a less moral people. so it's much more dangerous, i think, in august in france or in the balkans than the triangle. one more question. >> fascinating historian, and i find arguments about sherman really, really interesting, compelling. but i wonder, i mean, listening to you talk about 9-11, i wonder if you are so close to thinking about war so much that you alternatives you see is someone who is going overboard like grant compared to someone who is trying to be moderate and deal less violently like sherman in a way, because to talk about us being asleep at the wheel on 9-11 and sort of buys into all of our governments, bush's
excuses, which he doesn't want analyzed in any way and won't allow investigation into. do you take into account things like the project for new american century, in which they were just like waiting to come to power, and they talked about another pearl harbor, like it would be a good thing that would allow them to basically march across the world. >> i know people the next 50 years are going to argue that, because they haven't stopped arguing about pearl harbor. revisionist argument, fdr deliberately allowed lacksity so we could find excuse to get into this war. we are still arguing about that. there was a book on it last year again. >> the war happening, this pearl harbor was to start -- you know, if they were complacent or allowed it, the war began there. >> yes. >> you know, whereas with world war ii, it was going, and roosevelt wanted to get in. >> i would beg to differ because i would suggest to you before iraq, if you look at the
precursors of war in american history, i just read some, lexington and concord, fort sumter, sinking, pearl harbor, individually they did not total 3,000 people murdered and weren't on the continental united states, so that was a psychological and material blow that we have never had in our history. we can argue about whether there were al qaedas in occurredstan, all these terrorists, you can argue about, what were the precursors. myself, i never made the argument on wmd. i made the argument on one thing, and that was we had been at war with iraq in 1991, and we had an armest, and you don't spend $20 billion and have 12 years of occupying sovereign nation's air space. we had flown 350,000 sorties not to get oil but to prevent a holocaust of the shiites and
kurds, so by classical definitions, we were at war with iraq, and after 9-11, whether you agree or disagree, you have no margin of error, it was time to finish it, and we did. whether that was right or wrong, we will have to wait and see, historians sort it out. i probably will be very unpopular, and public opinion is swaying, but it will turn out to be a landmark event. we didn't go in for oil, just like we didn't for haiti. i will finish by saying when i was a student at uc santa cruz, the dream was always, let's support national liberation. let's not go in and support fascism. we got rid of noriega, milosevich, taliban, and saddam hussein, a fascist, and i can't shed any tears about any of them. thank you.